kids volunteering

Frequently Asked Questions

Can children volunteer?

Yes. We welcome and encourage children to volunteer at Oregon Food Bank. Age restrictions vary depending on the shift you select. Most shifts have a minimum age of six years old; see list below for complete information.

Youth under 16 need to volunteer with an adult. Youth Release forms are required for first-time volunteers under 18. Please use the special comment box on the application to add the name of the child or parent you need to be scheduled with.

Age requirements

Volunteer Action Center (VAC): Age 6+

Fresh Alliance (FA) & Food Recovery Center (FRC): Age 16+

Perishables Repack Room (PRR) at Beaverton facility: Age 10+

Perishables Repack Room (PRR) at Portland Headquarters: Age 16+

Learning Garden: All ages.

Special Events: Age 16+

Can I bring a school class?

Yes. Bringing your class to volunteer with Oregon Food Bank is an excellent way to teach your students about service and hunger in Oregon. Volunteering can help build compassion, self-esteem, teamwork and problem solving skills. Student volunteers work together to repackage bulk food donations, from apples, to oats, to beans, for distribution to hunger-relief agencies. While at Oregon Food Bank, your class will also take a tour of our food warehouse and learn about hunger in Oregon. 


Can I bring my service animal to the Food Bank?

If you or a member of your group will be accompanied by a certified/registered service animal, we require advance notice so that we may provide you a volunteer experience that will ensure your enjoyment and meet our need to strictly adhere to all federal and state laws, including the FDA food and safety regulations put in place to avoid contamination. Please email several days in advance. Thank you!

Can I complete court mandated community service at OFB?

OFB DOES NOT ACCEPT Court Mandated volunteers whose charges relate to an act of violence or sexual misconduct.

 If you would like to apply to our Court Mandated Program please fill out our Court Mandated Application.

Can I do community service at OFB for a school requirement or project?
Yes. We are happy to provide a piece of paper confirming the hours you volunteered. Please visit our individuals and families page to learn about opportunities and to sign up.
Can I make an ongoing commitment?
Absolutely!  We have a terrific community of regular volunteers.  These volunteers typically make a weekly commitment to a specific 2-3 hour shift.  We also love to thank volunteers for their dedication and friendship through potlucks and celebrations throughout the year, and by giving out thank you awards such as coffee mugs, t-shirts, and other gifts.  Please join our community!
We recommend that you try out the different types of shifts, and when you find a time/shift you like, ask your volunteer coordinator to sign you up as a regular.
We have additional people interested in the shift our group signed up for. Can we bring more people than we initially registered?

Please email us at before your shift to check availability, and we'll do our best to accommodate your request.

Can we reserve a room for our group to gather before or after our shift?

We do allow reservations in our community rooms depending on availability for meetings, but we do not allow groups to eat lunch in the rooms. Add your request on the application you fill out for your group and we will get back to you to confirm room availability.  

Can we schedule a volunteer shift for a date that is not listed on an application?

A shift may not show up on an application is because it’s already full or canceled. The Individual Application is open for approximately one month & The Group Application is open for approximately two months. If you are interested in signing up for shifts beyond that time, please check back closer to your desired date.

Can you accommodate volunteers with disabilities?
We do our best to accommodate volunteers with disabilities. We encourage you to email us to let us know of any accommodations you might need so we can make sure to set up a successful and positive experience. Please send an e-mail to
Can you expedite a group shift request for us?

To be fair and equitable, we process applications in the order they are submitted. Due to the amount of interest we receive during certain times of year it may take up to 5 business days to process applications. Thank you for your patience and willingness to volunteer. Planning ahead is always a good idea! 

Do I need to make an ongoing commitment?

It depends on which project you'd like to sign up for. There is no need to make an ongoing commitment to volunteer in our Volunteer Action Center, Learning Gardens (Dig In! program) or events.

If you are able to make a regular commitment, we need your help in the Food Recovery Center, Fresh Alliance, Nutrition Education, Learning Gardens, Speakers' Bureau or office.

Do I need to sign up in advance?
Yes. All volunteers need to sign up in advance. We plan projects and assign staff based on the number of volunteers we've scheduled. Please visit our individuals and families page or groups page to learn about opportunities and to sign up. If you come to a shift and we don't have you on our roster, you may be turned away.
Do volunteers need to bring tools/equipment?

No. Food safety gear (and gardening tools, gloves, etc. for Dig In shifts) is provided.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up to volunteer online by clicking the appropriate link below and fill out separate applications for each person that will be volunteering. EVERY volunteer, regardless of age, needs to be scheduled ahead of time.

Individuals and families:

Groups of 5 or more:

I just want to come with some friends, but we don't have an official group? What do I do?

Decide on a Group Name for your group of friends. You could call it by your name “Bob’s Friends and Family” or your last name “The Smith Family”, or get creative “We Love Portland”, etc.  Have fun with it!

What are the start and end times of volunteer shifts?

All available dates/times of shifts are listed on the applications. All of our volunteer shifts are at a set day and time. Shifts not listed on the application indicate they are full or not available. We ask all volunteers to arrive 15 min before their shift start time and stay for the entire duration of the shift.

What do we do if we need to change the date our group is signed up to volunteer?

If you need to cancel a shift you've signed up for, please email to cancel. To sign up for a different date, please fill out another application.

What if I have food allergies or don’t want to touch certain foods?

We are not able to provide details about the type of product we are packing on a given day because this can change at the last minute depending on donations and network need.

What if I have latex allergies?

For food safety, we use vinyl gloves for our projects rather than latex.

What if I have more questions?
We’d be happy to answer your additional questions. The fastest way for us to do that is by email. Please email us at If you do not have access to a computer, you may call 503-972-2993 and leave a message, we will do our best to return voice messages within two business days.
What if I need to cancel?
We’re counting on your help to get food out to people who really need it! If you have to cancel, please email us at or call 503-972-2993 as soon as possible. Three days’ notice is needed to fill an open space.
What is the minimum and maximum volunteer capacity for groups?
  • The minimum we ask for is at least 5 members; otherwise please sign up as individuals.
  • For school groups: between 70-75 including adult chaperones. For other groups, depending on shift, groups can bring up to 110.
What should I wear?

For safety reasons you WILL BE TURNED AWAY for improper footwear. Shoes must have closed toes and heels (no sandals, clogs, mules or high heels). Temperatures in the volunteer areas can vary. Layers are recommended.

What will volunteers be doing?

You can read descriptions for each shift on our Food Repack page.

Where are you located?
N.E. Portland Headquarters: 7900 N.E. 33rd Drive. Get driving directions.

Beaverton Facility: 1870 N.W. 173rd Ave. Get driving directions.
Why do we have to arrive 15 min before the start time of the shift?

With large numbers of volunteers, it takes time to get everyone checked in, for volunteers to put their belongings in lockers, etc. Arriving in advance of the shift ensures we start on time!